Last night at 9:20 p.m., a man wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying "a Sig Sauer rifle that had been modified to resemble an AK-47-style assault rifle" entered NJ's largest mall and started firing. Hours later, authorities found the body of the suspected shooter, Richard Shoop, who was dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Westfield Garden State Plaza, which is 2.2 million square feet, was scheduled to close at 9:30 p.m., but shoppers and and workers were trapped when Shoop entered the mall, firing about six rounds. An elevator and escalator were hit, as were store facades, but no people were injured, leading Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli to believe that Shoop did not intend to kill anyone, "The main motive for what he did tonight was suicide, whether self-inflicted or suicide-by-cop."

Apparently, after hearing reports of the shooting and lockdown at the mall, Shoop's family called the authorities to say he might be involved. Molinelli said, "He does have a history of drug use and drug abuse... Based on what we know, it did not appear that he entered the mall to actually shoot anyone. And I say that because it appears that he did have ample opportunity to do that and chose not to." WABC 7 reports, "Authorities say Shoop worked at a nearby pizza place and was not a mall employee. He reportedly was a user of MDMA, the active drug in ecstasy and molly, among other drugs, and had a police record. He did not, however, have a history of mental illness."

According to the Bergen Record, "Thousands of shoppers were at the mall when the shots rang out, and as many as 400 were locked down inside stores — some for six or more hours — as authorities conducted a painstaking store-by-store, room-by-room search for the gunman, Molinelli said. Shoppers and employees were still being let out of locked stores at 4:30 a.m., the prosecutor said." Shoop's body was found in a construction area at the mall around 3:20 a.m.; it's unclear when he may have shot himself.

David Vargel, who manages Eye to Eye Vision Center, was closing up the store around 9:15 p.m. when he heard the gunfire. He told the Star-Ledger, "Then it sounded like barrage, like pow pow pow pow pow. That's when I was literally freaking out. My heart was pounding." He lowered the gate and hid for 40 minutes. He also called his friend who was planning on picking him up, "I said, 'Listen - stay away form the mall. There’s gun shots.'" When he finally saw dozens of police officers with assault rifles, he was allowed to leave the mall.

An employee at the Lego Store, Nick Woods, said he heard about the shooting from a woman who ran by, shouting about the incident. His supervisor locked him as well as a man and a child in a back room. According to the AP, "When they finally peeked out two hours later, he said they saw police officers standing outside and Woods called 911 to ask that the officers be told they were coming out. He said the emergency operator told him she couldn't contact individual police officers and that he should walk out with his hands in the air." When Woods emerged, "I had to go out of the store shouting at the officers with my hands up, and they turned and pointed their guns at me. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life."

New York resident Carlos Sinde said fire alarms went off during the 9:20 p.m. showing of Gravity. He told the AP that when someone said there was a shooting, he didn't believed it. Security guards told him to leave and one was crying, "Once the security guards started telling us what was going on, that's when there was hysteria."

The mall will be closed today.